Sri Lanka on top after restricting India to 159 for six (Lead)

July 25th, 2008 - 8:08 pm ICT by IANS  

By Rex Clementine
Colombo, July 25 (IANS) India were staring at the possibility of a follow-on as they lost six wickets for just 159 runs in their first innings in good batting conditions on the third day of their first cricket Test against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground here Friday. After Sri Lanka declared their innings on 600 for six, one hour after lunch break, the tourists were left with a huge task to make 400 runs to avoid follow on and when play was stopped early due to bad light they were in big trouble.

The match has been completely dominated by the Sri Lankans after India were on top in the first session of the game claiming two quick wickets.

India started their reply Friday purposefully with Virender Sehwag getting off the blocks in a hurry making 25 runs in 16 balls with the help of five boundaries. He hooked a head high Nuwan Kulasekara bouncer without much control and ended up top edging it to Malinda Warnapura at deep square leg, who took a well judged catch.

India took tea at 74 for one, but the post tea session increased their woes.

Debutant Ajantha Mendis foxed Rahul Dravid with a beauty that the former Indian captain completely missed. The 122-Test veteran was completely hoodwinked by a delivery that pitched on the middle stump drawing the batsman on the back and cut to off going pass the poke and crashed onto the off-stump as the batsman stood in disbelief.

While Mendis was giving trouble to the Indian batsmen, Murali reminded that he’s not to be counted out by claiming the prize wicket of Sachin Tendulkar.

Tendulkar, who had begun the series requiring only 172 runs to overtake Brian Lara as the world’s highest run scorer in Test cricket, was undone by the ‘doosra’. Muralitharan coming round the wicket got one to pitch on leg and middle and the ball turned across and when the batsman decided to withdraw his bat, it was too late and the ball after striking on the edge of the bat went on to hit the stumps.

Prior to that, Muralitharan also accounted for the wicket of Gautam Gambhir.

The game was briefly stopped due to bad light in the evening and when it resumed 15 minutes later, India were pushed into further trouble as Muralitharan struck, this time to remove Sourav Ganguly. The former captain, trying to sweep a top-spinner, top edged and Kulasekara at deep fine leg managed to hold on to the ball that was dipping rapidly on him.

Muralitharan claimed his fourth wicket when wicket keeper Dinesh Karthik skied one having scored just nine runs.

Earlier, Tillakaratne Dilshan scored the fourth hundred of Sri Lanka’s innings and his fifth and was unbeaten on 125.

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